A humidifier adds moisture to a home’s dry air, bringing relief to occupants suffering from cold or allergy symptoms or dry skin. While a smaller humidifier does the job for most bedrooms and nurseries, a living room—or even an entire home—may need a larger humidifier. Large humidifiers feature tanks capable of holding up to 4 gallons, which can release enough mist to fill up to a 4,000-square-feet area or more, improving the indoor air quality in every room of the home.
These large humidifiers are built as evaporators or ultrasonic units in both warm-mist and cool-mist options. This guide explores the world of humidifiers and identifies the options to consider when shopping for the best humidifier for a large room.
- BEST OVERALL: LEVOIT Humidifiers for Large Room
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier
- BEST CAPACITY: AIRCARE Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
- TECH PICK: Hupro Air Humidifier
- BEST DESIGN: AIRCARE Digital Pedestal-Style Evaporative Humidifier
- BEST FOR WHOLE HOMES: Aprilaire 700 Whole Home Humidifier
- ALSO CONSIDER: VENTA LW45 Original Airwasher
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Humidifier for Large Room Usage
Understanding the different types of humidifiers on the market and their capacity is key to purchasing the right model. Ahead, learn more about humidifiers and other important features of high-capacity models.
Humidifiers designed to serve larger spaces come in three types: ultrasonic, evaporative, and whole-house.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers: This type of humidifier uses a vibrating diaphragm that emits tiny water particles and a blower that distributes them into the air. The unit typically distributes mist upward to give the particles enough time to vaporize before they come into contact with a hard surface. Since they don’t rely on evaporation to create mist, ultrasonic humidifiers can send more moisture into the air than other types, making them ideal for large rooms. However, if the water contains minerals, they can leave white deposits on hard surfaces.
- Evaporative humidifiers: This product has a wick inside the basin that absorbs water. A blower collects dry air from the room and blows it across the wick to add moisture to the air before circulating it back into the room. Evaporative humidifiers don’t cause the white residue around the unit that other types of humidifiers can create, but they require periodic cleaning to prevent the growth of bacteria inside the reservoir.
- Whole-house humidifiers: These humidifiers connect to a home’s ductwork and add a specific amount of moisture to the air as it circulates through the home’s HVAC system. Unlike ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers that distribute mist from a single vent mounted on the humidifier, these systems can add moisture to an entire home. Whole-house humidifiers also connect to the home’s plumbing system, which provides a limitless supply of water.
Warm Mist vs. Cool Mist
Warm-mist humidifiers add water vapor to the air by evaporating water in a reservoir that uses heat to cause the water to vaporize, which makes them ideal for adding soothing mist in the air during cold, dry winter months. Cool-mist humidifiers, in contrast, add water to the air by blowing dry air over a saturated wick. Since cool-mist humidifiers don’t use heat, they’re ideal for warmer months and safe to use overnight or in children’s rooms.
Room Size and Tank Capacity
To serve a large room, a humidifier must be capable of producing a large quantity of mist. Most large-room models can emit enough water vapor to fill a space of at least 5,000 square feet, with whole-home models capable of producing enough mist to treat more than 4,000 square feet of space.
To handle this coverage, large humidifiers can hold up to 4 gallons of water, which gives them enough capacity to run for a day or more before requiring a refill. Some whole-home units attach directly to the home’s water lines, giving the humidifier a limitless supply of water.
Ease of Cleaning
Most humidifiers are easy to operate: Simply fill the tank and turn on the unit. However, to use them safely, they require some maintenance. Clean the units at least once per week to prevent mold growth. If mold is allowed to grow inside the reservoir, the humidifier can distribute mold spores throughout the air, creating a health hazard. The reservoir opening on most humidifiers is large enough to fit a scrub brush.
Since the wick stops releasing water vapor once the humidity in the room reaches a certain level, an evaporative humidifier can’t over-humidify the room. However, once it’s on, an ultrasonic humidifier continues to release water particles into the air indefinitely, which can cause moisture to form on the walls or even create puddles on surfaces. To prevent this problem, many evaporative humidifiers feature a humidistat that turns off the unit automatically when the air in the room reaches a certain humidity level.
Some humidifiers have features that enhance their functionality, including controls that allow the user to adjust the humidifier’s fan speed or control the direction of mist output. Higher-end models include remote controls.
Integrated timers enable the user to set a shut-off time. Humidifiers also feature an automatic shutoff that stops the unit from running when the reservoir is dry, which prevents motor burnout. UV filtration can kill bacteria in the reservoir, and some humidifiers contain oil diffusers to release essential oils into the air.
Our Top Picks
The list below narrows the field to some of the top humidifiers on the market. The models in this list include both evaporative, whole-home, and ultrasonic humidifiers. They have enough capacity to handle large rooms ranging from 500 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet.
Loaded with options, an attractive design, and a large capacity, the LEVOIT is an excellent option for big spaces. It boasts a 1.5-gallon capacity, enough for 60 hours of use before needing a refill. With a maximum mist output of 500 milliliters per hour, this model can fill rooms of up to 750 square feet with moist air.
Users can adjust the mist output, humidistat, and 1- to 12-hour automatic shutoff timer via the control panel or a convenient remote control. Other features include an aromatherapy box with absorption pads and options for operating the unit for either cool-mist or warm-mist humidity. It features a wide opening on the top for easy cleaning.
This Everlasting Comfort cool-mist humidifier boasts a 1.6-gallon tank and a powerful fan to add moisture for up to 50 hours to rooms measuring up to 500 square feet. An analog knob fine-tunes the humidifier’s mist output. It also features an essential oil compartment for aromatherapy. It lacks a humidistat, requiring the user to monitor the humidity levels in the room to avoid over-humidifying the space. Its auto-shutdown function can turn the unit off if the basin runs out of water.
With a huge 3.6-gallon capacity, AIRCARE’s evaporative humidifier produces enough water vapor to treat up to 3,600 square feet. Its built-in humidistat turns the unit off and on automatically, depending on the humidity levels in the home. The user can set it and forget it. A digital control panel with clearly labeled buttons helps users easily adjust the humidifier’s humidity levels and fan speed. It also shuts off automatically when the unit is empty, preventing the motor from burning out.
With its sturdy set of casters, users can roll this large humidifier from room to room. At a weight of 14 pounds and measuring 21 inches wide, 14 inches long, and 20.5 inches high, this is one of the larger humidifiers on the market.
With a modern design coupled with large capacity, this sleek Hupro humidifier offers smart features like a touch panel and remote control. The equally modern—plus large—digital display communicates the current humidity level in the room from afar.
A remote control adds convenience, and its smart design mimics the layout and look of the control panel. A rotating nozzle directs the mist stream, and an aroma box allows the humidifier to double as an aromatherapy tool. With a 1.5-gallon capacity, the Hupro can add moist air to rooms of up to 500 square feet.
With its faux-wood panel sides and dark espresso stain finish, this pedestal-style AIRCARE humidifier is actually attractive—a bonus for those wanting to treat the air in a large room while still preserving the interior decor. This humidifier’s 3-gallon capacity is enough to treat an entire 2,400-square-foot home.
At 27 pounds, this large humidifier probably needs a permanent space in the home. Users can trade out the model’s replaceable tile top to match the room’s decor. Use the digital controls to adjust the humidity level and its nine fan speeds. An automatic shutoff feature prevents the motor from burning out when the reservoir is empty.
The Aprilaire integrates with a home’s ductwork, allowing it to distribute moist air evenly throughout the home. The humidifier connects to a water supply line, which gives it a limitless amount of water, eliminating the need to refill a tank. With its ability to add 18 gallons of water to a home’s air per day, this whole-home humidifier can treat homes as large as 4,200 square feet.
A wall-mounted thermostat allows the user to control the unit’s settings and alerts owners to any maintenance needs. With dual sensors, the humidifier can monitor both indoor and outdoor humidity to optimize performance, so the user can set it and forget it.
With an ability to clean the air as well as humidify it, this model from VENTA is a great option for those looking to improve the air quality in their home as well as humidify it. The Airwasher uses a set of rotating disks that collect dust and pollen as they rotate inside the water reservoir while simultaneously releasing clean water vapor.
This system, which can treat up to 600 square feet, works entirely on water, leaving no filters to clean or change. Simply empty the basin and rinse out impurities every 10 to 14 days to clean it. With its LED display and controls, this unit is simple to turn off or on or adjust between its three power levels. An automatic shutoff turns off the humidifier when the reservoir is empty.
FAQs About Humidifiers for Large Rooms
If you’re still wondering how humidifiers work, keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these appliances.
Q. What is the recommended indoor humidity level?
The ideal indoor humidity level for health and comfort is between 40 and 50 percent to help ease cold and allergy symptoms and make breathing easier while not making the air so humid that it promotes mold growth.
Q. Where should a humidifier be placed in a room?
The best place to position a humidifier is a few feet from the bed. This position allows the moist air to circulate enough to ease cold and allergy symptoms while not being so close that the user can breathe into it and distribute germs around the room.
Q. Can I run my humidifier all night?
It’s safe to leave a humidifier on all night if the unit has an automatic shutoff feature that turns off the unit when the reservoir is dry. An evaporative humidifier should also have a humidistat that turns off the unit after it reaches a certain humidity level to prevent the unit from over-humidifying the room.
Q. Can I use tap water in the humidifier?
Although it’s OK to use tap water in a humidifier, distilled water is a better option. Tap water often has minerals in it that can leave deposits inside the humidifier or get released with the water vapor, leaving white dust on furniture around the room.
Q. How do I clean my humidifier for a large room?
Unplug the humidifier and completely disassemble it. Clean the inside of the tank with white vinegar to kill any bacteria. Use a small brush to scrub away deposits in cracks and crevices inside the tank. Rinse out the lid and any other removable parts. If it’s an evaporative humidifier, avoid cleaning the delicate wick.